One of favorite restaurants in Honolulu is Town, a restaurant nestled in an interesting part of town with a hipster vibe and some of the best food on the island. The emphasis is on local and organic ingredients, and the kitchen’s passion for quality ingredients is equally reflected in the care of its cooking. Town doesn’t serve fussy food, but the dedication and talent in the kitchen is reflected well in the food that it serves.
We discovered a tasting menu being offered when we were there last week. Since we decided we were going to eat there twice in the week we were in Honolulu, we thought the tasting menu would be a good way to start the week.
We started off with the bread and olives that Town serves all guests, followed by the amuse bouche.
The tasting menu started off with what we thought was the best course of the evening—boudin blanc, baby carrots, red mizuna, and pickled onion. The tartness of the pickled onion went well with the more mellow flavors of the carrots and the richness of the boudin blanc.
Next up was pa’i’ai, butcher’s cut steak, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, and oregano. This dish does not sound like it would work, but, somehow, the flavors meld together beautifully, and the steak is extremely flavorful and tender.
The fish course was made up of uku, ulu, long beans, dandelion greens, onion, and preserved lemon aioli. I’m not a fan of dense white fish (such as swordfish), so the uku was not a favorite. That being said, the flavors worked well together, with the slight bitterness of the dandelion greens adding flavor to the fish.
One of Town’s strengths is its pasta. The hand-cut pappardelle, beef sugo, and parmigiano was excellent. The pappardelle had great texture, and the beef sugo was full of flavor.
The final entrée dish was house-cured ham, polenta, bitter greens, gribiche. This dish, I’m sorry to say, was a failure. The ham was excellent, but it was served thinly sliced, sandwich-style, which did not mesh well with the polenta and bitter greens. If they had done a whimsical ham sandwich, that might have worked. But the ham looked like it could have been served at a neighborhood deli (and while I like neighborhood delis, that is not what I’m looking for in a tasting menu at a restaurant). Bizarre.
Dessert was pineapple polenta upside-down cake. This was much better than I had expected, as I’m not a fan of polenta. But the polenta gave the cake a chewy texture, and the pineapple was sweet and flavorful.
All in all, we were glad that we tried the tasting menu, and we loved seeing what the chef thought were his strongest dishes. However, when we went back on Friday, we ordered off the normal menu and had a fabulous meal! 🙂
Town is located at 3435 Waialae Avenue #104, Honolulu, HI 96816 (www.townkaimuki.com).